Tarantula

 

  (1955) 


Distributor
: Universal Pictures
Director : Jack Arnold
Writng credits : Jack Arnold , Martin Berkeley, 
Robert M. Fresco (story))
Producteur : William Alland

Cast :

John Agar ................. Doctor Matt Hastings
Mara Corday ................. Stephanie 'Steve' Clayton
Leo G. Carroll ................. Professor Gerald Deemer
Nestor Paiva ................. Sheriff Jack Andrews
Ross Elliott ................. Joe Burch
Edwin Rand ................. Lieutenant John Nolan
Raymond Bailey ................. Dr. Townsend
Hank Patterson ................. Josh
Bert Holland ................. Barney Russell
Steve Darrell ................. Andy Andersen
Clint Eastwood ................. Jet Squadron Leader
etc ...

 

Tarantula was one of the classic sf films made during the 1950s by director Jack Arnold. Arnold debuted with It Came from Outer Space (1953) and made other classics such as The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957).

Tarantula was undoubtedly inspired by the success of the giant atomic ant film Them! the year before. Although the one difference between Tarantula and Them! and almost any other 50s giant monster movie is that Tarantula eschews atomic radiation as the catch-all explanation for what is going on. Instead it falls back on the 1930s and 40s staple of the mad scientist. In this respect it straddles a line between two eras - it’s a new breed of monster movie of the 1950s with enlarged creatures rampaging across the landscape and endangering society, and on another level it points the finger of blame at scientists traversing into areas of forbidden knowledge.

Tarantula is considered one of the best giant bug movies of the 1950s. Director Jack Arnold is a master at conveying unearthly menace through the desert landscape, and the scenes of the gigantic tarantula creeping over the horizons are chillingly effective. The memorable score is by Henry Mancini and Herman Stein. Clint Eastwood pops up in the end as a jet sqad leader, though he's hidden by his oxygen mask.

In the small Arizona town of Desert Rock, local GP Matthew Hastings puzzles over the case of scientist Eric Jacobs, found dead with an extreme case of acromegalia, a medical condition of uncontrolled bone growth, and wonders how such a case could have developed in a matter of days.

Hastings meets Stephanie Clayton, the new research assistant of Jacobs’ employer, Professor Gerald Deemer. Together they discover that Deemer is trying to create a formula that will grow animals to giant sizes as a means of solving food shortages. But then Deemer is injected with the growth formula and Stephanie sees him starting to develop hideous acromegalia too. Meanwhile a tarantula that has been injected with the formula escapes from the laboratory and starts growing to giant-size, killing cattle and then people.

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